5 Fair Dealing and Fair Use

Open textbooks created or adapted under the supervision of and funded by BCcampus Open Education have not used the fair-dealing clause of Canada’s Copyright Act when selecting external resources to be included in an open textbook or other open educational resources (OER). All materials created and external resources selected for these open textbooks are either released under an open-copyright licence or are in the public domain.

The definition of fair dealing according to the Library at Simon Fraser University is as follows:

Fair dealing is a user’s right in copyright law permitting use of, or “dealing” with, a copyright protected work without permission or payment of copyright royalties. The fair dealing exception in the Copyright Act allows you to use other people’s copyright protected material for the purpose of research, private study, education, satire, parody, criticism, review or news reporting, provided that what you do with the work is ‘fair’. If your purpose is criticism, review or news reporting, you must also mention the source and author of the work for it to be fair dealing.[1]
For more information, see the University of Alberta Libraries’ Fair Dealing and  Applying Fair Dealing videos.

If you work and live in the U.S., then you are likely concerned with fair use. According to the U.S. Copyright Office:

Fair use is a legal doctrine that promotes freedom of expression by permitting the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances.[2]

For guidance on using fair dealing or fair use, consult with an intellectual-property or copyright expert at your institution or elsewhere.

A large library
For guidance consult with your local copyright librarian or other expert


Books by Pexels has been designated to the public domain (CC0).

  1. "What is fair dealing and how does it relate to copyright?" SFU Library, https://www.lib.sfu.ca/help/academic-integrity/copyright/fair-dealing (accessed January 23, 2018).
  2. "Chapter 1: Subject Matter and Scope of Copyright - 107. Limitation on exclusive rights: Fair use," Copyright.gov, https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html#107 (accessed January 23, 2018).


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